GISWATER, Free and Open Source technology for the integral water cycle management


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Author: Xavier Torret, Partner director of BGEO OPEN GIS SL. Civil engineer, project coordinator of Giswater and Vice-president of GISWATER association (,

When you need to design water supply or urban drainage master plans and you don't dispose of the adecuated tools, you pass a hard time. Me and my partner Josep Lluís we knew it by experience. We had many trouble to develop hydraulic projects without using a software affordable from an economic point of view, user-friendly and integrable with GIS technologies.

As we noticed that nothing similar existed in the market, we decided to create it. It was very clear for us that it had to be a software 100% open source, totally open and free that must permit to the user to benefit from of all other preexisting informatic resources and that its initial development had to be relatively simple. With the collaboration of professors and researchers from the Sediment Transport Research Group of the Polytechnic University of Catalunia (GITS-UPC) we started to develop a small driver that integrated any available tool and that created easily an ecosystem for the integral water cycle management wit potent hydraulic models. Therefore, in March 2014 was born GISWATER. Nowadays, the software is already fully consolidated but what are exactly the advantages that Giswater offers? The first one is that to try it you don't have to pay it. You only need to go on, download it and install it. Once this task is done, the user can fastly be aware of the high performances that offers the software: - It is a tool 100% open source. You can download it, modify it and distribute it without any cost or restriction. - It can be programed to be linked with any existant resources. - It is designed for the realization of water supply, sewerage and urban drainage master plans integrated with GIS. - It includes detailled analysis tools for flood risks assesment. - It is prepared to be integrated with all the water supply or sewerage management elements (EPANET, EPA SWMM, GIS, ERP, mobile devices or SCADA). - It relies on robust, reliable and guaranteed technology (QGIS, PostgreSQL, EPANET, EPA SWMM) - It is supported by an expanding users community all over the world. The result of the project is an optimal product for city councils, supramunicipal administrations, water and sewerage services concessionary companies and hydraulic professionals. The proof is that on its first year of life, GISWATER accumulated more than 3.300 downloads from 80 different countries with downloads rates constantly increasing since then as nowadays we have reached more than 10.000 downloads. In addition, the software has been awarded in South of Portugal and each time there are more and major organizations that use it. In this context, the Giswater Association is already working on its 2.0 version that will be released at the end of the year and that will deepen significantly the management efficiency area of hydraulic infrastructures and will incorporate elements to facilitate even more corporative work on large projects. For all these reasons, GISWATER isn't a software program. It is a way of understanding the technology in the service of engineers and managers of this good such scarce as water is.

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